The Castle Climbing Centre

Green Lanes

Stoke Newington


N4 2HA

Tel: 020 8211 7000

Castle Garden volunteer traineeships

Please find enclosed information about the Castle Garden work placements. Below are details on the following:

  • A description of what the traineeship involves.
  • A description of the type of person we are looking for (Person Specification).

About Castle Climbing
The Castle Climbing Centre is the premier indoor climbing centre in South East England and receives more visitors than any other climbing centre in the UK. It is housed within a magnificent and imposing Victorian building which was formerly a water pumping station at Manor House in North London.

Since 30th May 2009, the Castle has been working hard to implement an environmental policy with the aim of “making the Castle Climbing Centre a benchmark for environmental and economic sustainability and to demonstrate that there is a place for sport and commerce in a sustainable future without compromising financial success and high standards.” The Castle has in 2012 and 2013 won sustainable city awards for sustainable food and several other environmental awards.

Castle Garden Project
Since September 2009, we have been working to develop the green space surrounding the centre in order to realise its full potential. This has been an exciting project with the vision to create a productive garden with areas for relaxation, based on the principles of permaculture design. The garden has café plots, herb growing areas, forest garden with fruit & nut trees, pond, bee hives, roundwoodgarden shelter, cob oven. The garden is now starting to focus on production and supplements the kitchen and café with vegetables, fruit,culinary and herbs for tea. We also produce herb products for our shop.Its focus is also on education, by working with volunteers, staff and local community and through holding regular events.

We are currently recruiting for the fifth year now two volunteer traineesto join the garden team to learn how to work and manage acommunity style productive food growing garden.

1)Mondays –focus on herbs.

2)Thursdays – with focus on fruit and vegetables.

We are looking for two enthusiastic people who are keen to learn how to grow food in a sustainable way, enjoy working outdoors and working with others and looking to develop their skills in community gardening and food growing. There is a choice of two placements – Mondays for a focus on herbs and Thursdays with a focus on kitchen gardening - fruit and vegetables. However there will be times when the experiences will cross over.

Additional information about the Castle and the garden can be found on our website and about the garden on our environmental blog:

If after reading the information you would like to apply, please enclose a CV and a covering letter which outlines why you would be suitable for this opportunity. Please send to Please state in the heading which traineeship you want to apply for “Herb”or “Veg Garden”.

Applicants will be short-listed according to how well they meet the criteria in the person specification.

Closing date for applications is by 9am Monday 27th February 2017

Short listed applicants for interviews will be informed by Monday 6th March 2017

If you do not hear by then, please assume that you have not been shortlisted.

Interviews will be held Wednesday 15thMarch 2017

Positions start in the first week of April (Herb trainee 3rd April and Veg trainee 6th April). There will be an option to continue to the end of November if the trainee wishes.

The trainees will learn all aspects of running our Garden project by:

1. Assisting the garden team on site one day a week. Mondays (herbs) or Thursdays Fruit and Veg.

Tasks include seed sowing, planting out, record keeping, weeding, watering, making compost, general garden maintenance & grounds work& taking part in helping organise garden events.

2. Helping to harvest vegetables, fruits, herbs for the Castle Kitchen & Café.

  • The Fruit and veg trainee will focus on vegetable and fruit production and harvesting the café and kitchen.
  • The herb trainee role covers many of the same learning pathways and horticultural experiences as the Kitchen garden trainee - so you will be learning about and working with fruit and veg production too. However as a Herb trainee you will be working closely alongside our herb team with a particular focus on learning how to grow, cultivate and process a wide variety of herbs and make them into herbal products such as the Castle tea blends, culinary salts and sugars and natural cosmetic products. So this will be suitable if you are interested in herbs and their various uses.There can be times when the volunteer trainees assist on both.

3. Supporting and supervising volunteers.

4. Supervising the garden work day and harvest when the staff are absent.

5. Having the opportunity to attend tutorials and workshops in food growing. Trainees will have the opportunity to join on Growing Communities tutorials, held once a month in their nearby Allens Gardens site, a small budget is available for attending workshops held at other training sites and there is also the chance to receive tutorials with Castle garden staff in specialist subjects such as sustainable beekeeping, scything and mushroom cultivation.


Successful applicants will be able to show that they:

  • Want to learn to grow & harvest herbs/ fruit and vegetables for the Castle Kitchen & café
  • Are committed to the aims of The Castle Climbing Centre
  • Are able to work outdoors in all weathers
  • Are reliable, hardworking and organised
  • Would benefit from this traineeship
  • Work well with other people
  • Could supervise volunteers


  • Have some experience in gardening growing food and herbs
  • Have practical skills appropriate to working in a garden
  • Have an interest in climbing

The placement is unpaid, although trainees receive lunch from the Castle café as well as be given the opportunity to attend tutorials and food growing workshops in London and the chance to climb or learn to climb.